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At the time, all I could come up with was an acute contrast. The magnificence of humans after millions and millions of years being able to make a spacecraft capable of visiting another object, and then successfully landing it — what an achievement! But I was also impressed with the total desolation I saw in front of me: black sky, no stars and the horizon clearly curving away.

In Magnificent Desolation

I write about extreme adventure and those who do it. I've bobsledded with the Olympic team; piloted a super-boat at mph; flown to 84, feet at Mach 2. Share to facebook Share to twitter Share to linkedin Buzz Aldrin really needs no introduction. Jim Clash Contributor.


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Duncan, who claims to remember his birth and the voice of God speaking to him, desperately dreams that one day his mother will come and reclaim him. He prizes an old transistor radio, given to him by Brother Canice, and he listens to recordings of the Apollo 11 astronauts at night—voices of men Duncan believes were doomed to never return to Earth. When his mother finally comes, she takes Duncan to San Francisco, where they live a bleak existence. Her boyfriend, Joshua, is a Vietnam vet, but the three scarred individuals draw comfort and a tenuous strength from one another.

His characters bear the wounds of their imperfections, but no matter how hard they struggle to change direction, to reinterpret the past, the reality remains: They cannot heal themselves or each other. There was a problem adding your email address.

The Beautiful Way Buzz Aldrin Just Described the Moon - The Atlantic

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Each week, our editors select the one author and one book they believe to be most worthy of your attention and highlight them in our Pro Connect email alert. Sign up here to receive your FREE alerts. Duncan's entire world is the orphanage where he lives, a solitary outpost on the open plains of northern Minnesota.

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Aged ten in , he has no memories of his life before now, but he has stories that he recites like prayers: the story of how his mother brought him here during the worst blizzard of the century; the story of how God spoke to him at his birth and gave him a special purpose. Duncan is sure that his mother is dead until the day she turns up to claim him.

Maggie Bright, a soprano who was once the talent of her generation, now sings in a San Francisco bar through a haze of whisky cut with sharp regret. She often finishes up in the arms of Joshua McGreevey, a Vietnam vet who earns his living as part of a tunneling crew seventy feet beneath the Bay.

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He smells of sea silt and loam, as if he has been dredged from the deep bottom of the world - and his wounds run deep too. Thrown into this mysterious adult world, Duncan finds comfort in an ancient radio, from which tumble the voices of Apollo mission astronauts who never came home, and dreams of finding his real father. The book opens with the statement which would have been read by President Nixon in the event of a catastrophic failure in the Apollo 11 moon landing, which would have left Aldrin and Armstrong on the moon's surface and Collins circling above.

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon - "Magnificent Desolation"

The book's title is a quotation from Buzz Aldrin's description of the lunar landscape. The young hero Duncan is obsessed with space travel and the story told him by a dying friend that the Apollo 11 mission was a failure and that the astronauts were left on the moon.


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